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Deviance as an historical artefact: a scoping review of psychological studies of body modification

Owens, Rebecca, Filoromo, S. J., Landgraf, L. A., Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2023) Deviance as an historical artefact: a scoping review of psychological studies of body modification. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 10 (33). pp. 1-10. ISSN 2662-9992

Item Type: Article


Body modification is a blanket term for tattooing, piercing, scarring, cutting, and other forms of bodily alteration generally associated with fashion, identity, or cultural markings. Body modifications like tattooing and piercing have become so common in industrialised regions of the world that what were once viewed as marks of abnormality are now considered normal. However, the psychological motivations for body modification practices are still being investigated regarding deviance or risky behaviours, contributing to a sense in the academic literature that body modifications are both normal and deviant. We explored this inconsistency by conducting a scoping review of the psychological literature on body modifications under the assumption that the psychological and psychiatric disciplines set the standard for related research. We searched for articles in available online databases and retained those published in psychology journals or interdisciplinary journals where at least one author is affiliated with a Psychology or Psychiatry programme (N = 94). We coded and tabulated the articles thematically, identifying five categories and ten subcategories. The most common category frames body modifications in general terms of risk, but other categories include health, identity, credibility/employability, and fashion/attractiveness. Trends in psychology studies seem to follow the shifting emphasis in the discipline from a clinical orientation regarding normality and abnormality to more complex social psychological approaches.

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Depositing User: Rebecca Owens


Item ID: 15682
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ISSN: 2662-9992
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Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Rebecca Owens: ORCID iD
ORCID for S. J. Filoromo: ORCID iD
ORCID for C. D. Lynn: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2023 09:46
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2023 09:46


Author: Rebecca Owens ORCID iD
Author: S. J. Filoromo ORCID iD
Author: C. D. Lynn ORCID iD
Author: L. A. Landgraf
Author: M. R. A. Smetana
Author: [error in script] [error in script]
Author: [error in script] [error in script]
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Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Psychology


Psychology > Psychology
Social Sciences

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